Thursday, 7 October 2010

Suits you Sir .... well, maybe not

A friend said to me this week, "oh I don't think your bike suits you, I don't think it suits your personality."

It got me thinking, how often to we take into consideration our personality when buying or building a bike. Of course we do take into account fit, contact points and price. More often or not I am sure that Pro Team status rider used machines play heavily on the mind. I'm pretty sure that's why I wanted a Cervelo.

The other popular determining factor is doubt reviews and reputation built around them. I've been lurred in by that before myself, sometimes it's been great and at other times a complete nightmare. Part of that goes down to the quality of the testing and writing with some writers I take their word like the fifth Gospel while others I disgard quicker than a JW leaflet.

Trying to buy one bike to reflect a personality, could be as hard as trying to have one bike. Well for me it would as I have a complicated and deep one which only parts surface in areas of my life, some things I just keep for me, my family and closest friends. I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

So to the bikes, I'll lament over the choice which reflect elements of my personality, some are already on my bikes. I've always liked a mix of good design and funtionality on all my machines, so it brings me nicely to a list of parts that over the years meet these requirements. The hardest choice will be the Frame and Fork.

Drive Chain ~ I have no real love for Campag as a whole and can't get on with how the shifter works. But one quality I've always enjoyed about the Campa stuff is that much of it is completely re-buildable. Thankfully so is SRAM, so if I was building a new machine, I'd swing to those guys. Although I'd likely make one omission, the cranks. This is not founded on a performance viewpoint (I have a set of Red cranks on one bike) but an asthetic one. I don't like how the crank is made around the pedal area, it's kind of ugly, all that excess material compared to a Shimano alloy crank.

Pedals ~ how could I think of anything other than my beloved Speedplay. The truth is, I can't. I love most things about the pedals and I am prepared to live with the bits that annoy me. I'm sure one day something out there will tempt me to try something, but currently that pedal isn't on my radar.

Cockpit ~ this is another one born from experience. It has to be 3T, a mix of good design, solid engineering and a simple choice of best, better and OMG is a great format. I've bought into the Best level, with a smidgen of Better. The OMG range, well the price scares me off and I'm no weight weenie.

Saddle ~ two brands, both Italian, would be my choice of perch. Fi'zi:k and Selle San Marco. Fi'zi:k is a brand I have a long history with, both as a rider and on a business level. Having ridden their saddles since '98 I know their product well. Two models stand out for me with the Arione and Aliante being my go to saddles. Although different in shape both provide hours of comfort. The Aliante is my current favourite, but I'd love to try the A0 as it would seem to combine the best elements of both products. From San Marco it is the Regal and the Regale these are the ones which I've had some great adventures on and gain the most comfort and support from. The final decision would no doubt be due to what looked right, agt least having three to choose from shouldn't present too much of a problem.

The finishing touches, well there are a couple of brands I really like in part of their quality. Cinelli, Bike Ribbon and Lizard Skins all produce excellent bar tape. Normally my bikes get the Cinelli treatment, but the others have all graced my bike and all three last ages and have the right amount of stretch when fitting.

Tyres currently gracing the bikes are Vittoria and Vredestein and both seem to have most options covered. I'm always open to try new stuff as you can always be surprised in how those companies relook at what they are doing every 12-18 months.

So to the big question then, what frame. My frame who made the comment thought I should ride Ti or Steel, and to a point he's right, although many of those bikes lack the direct input I like from a bike and feel like accelarating in a desil car. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, and these are the brands which I like.

For Titanium, I'll probably go with the American builders and two spring to mind. One is already well known in Moots and the other is Crisp. Moots is based in the States and I've had chance to ride a couple of their bikes, and the new


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